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The French, the Americans, and the Plague of Politics

By Pierre Lemieux | Jun 20 2024
The upcoming legislative election in France (on June 30 and, for the second round, July 7) tells us much about politics. It also suggests some comparisons between American and French politics. The parties of the left vying for a majority in the National Assembly have built a populist coalition, the New Popular Front (Nouveau Front ...

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The wisdom of Janan Ganesh

By Scott Sumner | Jun 19 2024

Janan Ganesh is probably my favorite news commentator.  In a recent column, he pushes back at the widespread belief that the global rise of the hard right is a reaction to neoliberalism: Rightwing populism is ascendant in France, which might be the least economically liberal country in the rich world. Government spending there accounts for .. MORE

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I think the better point is that as Scott noted is that by and large executives negotiated away that IP so that they could have huge salaries and their companies have big profits. What evidence..

Jon Murphy, June 16

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Politics and Economics

The Internal Contradictions of Nationalism

By Scott Sumner | Jun 23, 2024 | 17

Here are two different versions of American nationalism: Version 1: High tech is evil, part of the woke conspiracy to radicalize America. We need to go back to muscular old industries like coal and steel and autos, which employ lots of blue color workers. We need to revive the Rust Belt. EVs are a fad. .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

My Weekly Reading for June 23, 2024

By David Henderson | Jun 23, 2024 | 10

The Deadly Tobacco Drug War Down Under by Jacob Grier, Reason, June 17, 2024. Excerpt: Since March of last year, the Australian state of Victoria has been rocked by a series of arsons and firebombings. Some of the targets are victims of extortion; others are caught in an escalating turf war between rival gangs. Two .. MORE

Cross-country Comparisons

Does a Price Decrease Fuel Deflation?

By Pierre Lemieux | Jun 23, 2024 | 10

Nearly everybody seems to think so, including many economists: when a price rises, it fuels inflation. The venerable magazine The Economist doesn’t think twice about it. Speaking of Argentina, it writes (“Javier Milei’s Next Move Could Make His Presidency—or Break It,” June 19, 2024): Monthly inflation may creep up in June as energy prices rise. .. MORE


Ask a stupid question . . .

By Scott Sumner | Jun 21, 2024 | 31

. . . get a stupid answer. A recent article on inflation beautifully illustrates the truth of this old maxim. Before getting to the article, let’s review another maxim, this one not at all old: Never reason from a price change. Thus, for instance, it would make no sense to ask people about the “welfare .. MORE

Labor Market

Consumer Adjustments to Minimum Wage

By Kevin Corcoran | Jun 21, 2024 | 13

When minimum wages are increased, one consequence we might see follow is reduced employment. I say might see, rather than will definitely see, because employers can adjust on multiple margins. Instead of reducing employment, they may reduce hours, benefits, perks, or just put less effort into providing a pleasant working environment. But consumers can adjust .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Henderson Review of Build, Baby, Build

By David Henderson | Jun 20, 2024 | 1

  Often when I advocate abolishing a particular regulation, I’m accused of thinking that my proposal is a panacea. Usually, that’s false: I point out that it would move things in the right direction but that it’s not close to being a panacea. I’m guessing that for most policies he advocates, Bryan Caplan has the .. MORE

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Book Club

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Rights and the Principle of Charity 16

In his book Word and Object, W. V. Quine describes the problems that arise when one is attempting to translate an entirely unfamiliar language. Among the ideas he raises in his discussion is that when attempting to translate what someone is saying, one should employ the principle of charity, by which Quine meant we should .. MORE

Political Economy

D-Day and the Naïve Conception of Democracy 31

The speech that President Biden gave at Pointe du Hoc (Normandie, France) in celebration of D-Day echoed a naïve and widespread conception of democracy. The general theory goes like this: Democracy is a system where the voter is in power. He is well-informed and votes to express his interest in the public goods that the .. MORE

Adam Smith

Adam Smith as Founding Father 11

George Mason University professor of economics Daniel Klein has asked me to post this. First, a little background. Dan noted a passage from Andy Smarick at our sister publication Law and Liberty. Smarick, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, wrote, “Who Will Lead Us?” Law and Liberty, June 3, 2024. Here’s the passage: [O]ur .. MORE

Book Reviews and Suggested Readings

Princess Mathilde and the Immorality of Politics

By Pierre Lemieux

A Liberty Classics Book Review of Against Politics: On Government, Anarchy, and Order, by Anthony de Jasay.1 We cannot be against politics, especially in a democratic regime; isn’t that obvious? In his 1997 book Against Politics: On Government, Anarchy, and Order, Anthony de Jasay led a frontal charge against this commonly accepted idea. He argued .. MORE

Rules for Non-Radicals

By M. Scott King

A Liberty Classic Book Review of The Reason of Rules: Constitutional Political Economy, by Geoffrey Brennan and James M. Buchanan.1 Geoffrey Brennan and James Buchanan’s The Reason of Rules is remarkable. It is an important book, and the questions that the authors wrestle with are massive. When so much academic work feels as though it .. MORE

Setting the Record Straight on Income Inequality

By Art Carden

Book Review of The Myth of American Inequality: How Government Biases Policy Debate by Phil Gramm, Robert Ekelund, and John Early.1 Everyone knows inequality is growing. As a trio of economists consisting of former senator Phil Gramm, economics professor Robert Ekelund, and economist and former assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics John Early .. MORE

When Cost-Benefit Analysis Fails

By Arnold Kling

Whether to have a child is what I call a wild problem—a fork in the road of life where knowing which path is the right one isn’t obvious, where the pleasure and pain from choosing one path over another are ultimately hidden from us, where the path we choose defines who we are and who .. MORE